The Waterford goblet, too precious for the dishwasher, leaps from the damp terrycloth towel in Marthas hands. One moment, she is wiping the crystal ball of the stem more brusquely than she should, thinking how ridiculous it is for her sister-in-law to treasure something so simple. The next moment, the goblet is gone. Like a scantily clad assistant disappearing through a trapdoor with the wave of a magic wand. Poof. This couldnt be. She is trying so hard to make amends, to be civil, even gracious.
The crystal makes an ugly little squeak when it leaves her hands. A rabbit scream. In an instant, the thing has gone from trick to tragic, determined to go out in a crystal clean and sparkling glory, spinning in the kitchen light, displaying each of its diamond facets, the prisms refracting light. And in each of those spinning crystal facets is her sister-in-laws face, her mouth in a perfect O.
Surely, this can be rectified. Marthas hands flutter from the towel like doves from a hat, her white fingers feathering the air above the dish rack. The glass squeaks by the flesh of her thumb, one last scream, before bouncing from the rubber edge of the dish rack, through spotlighted air, to the stone tile floor next to Marthas foot. Where it bursts, of course, showering slivers of fine Waterford crystal into every crevice of the kitchen. Where they will inevitably lodge in her sister-in-laws pedicured feet. The tiny knives hidden up a sleeve.